Topic: Assholes who demand free books and download them from pirate websites. If that sentence offends you, please read what follows carefully so you are aware of the amount of time, effort, and money that actually goes into that "free" book.
I don't profess to understand the narcissistic view of those who download pirated books, songs, and movies. Maybe they actually believe that they're better than the rest of us and are entitled to free entertainment, though I doubt that; I would venture to guess that none of these self-righteous book pirates would have the audacity to walk into Starbucks or McDonald's and demand a freebie.
Maybe it's the thrill of doing something "bad" combined with the safety of the anonymity of the Internet. Like those who attack and vilify others while hiding behind the anonymity of a user ID, they know there will never be any serious repercussions for their actions.
Maybe they feel they're justified in stealing e-books because of the ridiculous prices some publishers are charging. Of all the arguments, I can partially relate to this one. I've noticed a tendency from some publishers to charge almost as much for the electronic version as they do the trade paperback or hardcover edition of the same book. This is especially true for non-fiction books and best selling fiction writers. Again, that doesn't justify theft. Just because one service station overprices its gasoline doesn't give you the right to fill up at another station and drive off without paying.
I also think these people have no concept of how much money actually goes into a well-produced book, whether released through an independent publisher or those that are self published. Most of us highly value the product we put out. Our novels and stories are an extension of us, and what we publish is our brand name. If it's sloppy and unprofessional, it makes us look sloppy and unprofessional. For myself, I spent close to $750 each on Rotter Nation and Rotter Apocalypse between professional editing and formatting, ISBNs, and cover art. Sure that is a lot of money to spend on a self-published book, but the quality of the finished product is as good as if they were released by a professional publishing house.
What happens when we publish on the cheap? We all know the answer to that one. Everyone reading this has at least once downloaded onto their Kindle a book the blurb of which sounded interesting, only to be sorely disappointed to find that the book was written, edited, formatted, and the cover art designed by someone who had no concept of editing, formatting, and cover art design (and, in too many cases, had no concept of how to write). It's self-published writers like that who make it harder for the rest of us who are professional to get by. They lower the overall standard of the industry, give all self-published writers and undeserved reputation, and create a climate that encourages others to pirate someone's intellectual property. Sadly, I see it as a growing trend in the future. As more books become pirated, more writers will have to cut corners if they hope to turn a minimal profit, which results in a decline in the quality of the finished product. This in turn will be used as justification for people to pirate even more books.
If you get your books from pirate sites and then complain about the poor quality of the books, you might be a flaming asshole.